Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Chicagoan Visit

As a very spontaneous decision, L flew out to Chicago for the weekend. Friday began at Naval Base Great Lakes where L got to see Jenny graduate from Navy boot camp. Jenny is Leah's best friend from college and she will be playing oboe in the Navy Band in Rhode Island. The graduation ceremony, which took place indoors, was a memorable event consisting of pageantry and Naval tradition, as seen in the picture below. Many thanks to Mr. Brown and Captain Brown, who helped make this trip possible for me!

After spending the day with Jenny and her family, L took a scenic train ride down to Wheaton, IL, where her sister and brother-in-law live. The Gees recently moved to this suburb of Chicago last August, so what a treat it was to see their new, lovely home! That Saturday, L was given the grand tour of the downtown Chicago, which included riding the El (train), Millenium Park, Navy Pier, Chicago-style pizza, and more fun sights.

The remainder of the weekend was spent exploring Wheaton and other beautiful nearby towns, such as Naperville (the #1 most desirable place to live in the USA). A special thanks to M and B for your wonderful hospitality and for truly showing me a wonderful time that I'll never forget! I am so excited about your amazing new home and neighborhood, and I can't wait to come back with A.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Marines and Bagpipers

Labor Day weekend, A traveled with the Marine Band to Pleasanton, CA, to perform at the Scottish Highland Games. With the weather over 100 degrees, it was an interesting experience with outdoor performances that included over 300 bagpipes and drums (and what a deafening sound that is!). The bagpipers, from the Toronto Scottish Regiment, were always in good spirits and were very appreciative of the Marines.

And of course, on the flight home, some of the Marines like to practice interesting grappling moves used in MCMAP (Marine Corps Martial Arts Program), as A and Lance Corporal Parks are demonstrating here.